After US Iraq embassy, Gabon embassy scandals


This video from the United States Congress says about itself:

The Oversight Committee holds a hearing, “Allegations of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse at the New U.S. Embassy in Iraq.”

By Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers, USA:

Company that bungled Baghdad embassy repeats in Gabon

WASHINGTON — A year after problems emerged in the construction of the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, another State Department post being built largely by the same Kuwaiti-based company is engulfed by delays, recriminations, and an Inspector General’s probe, according to U.S. officials.

The embassy building, in the central African nation of Gabon, was supposed to be finished by April 2009.

Instead, according to U.S. officials and to documents obtained by McClatchy, the $55 million complex is only 7 percent complete. Workers are still excavating the construction site in the Gabonese capital of Libreville, and early 2010 is the new target date for completion. State Department officials confirmed that the department’s inspector general is actively examining the project, but declined to provide details.

Patrick Kennedy, the Under Secretary of State for Management, acknowledged serious problems with the facility.

“The department is always concerned about timely and efficient progress on all our construction contracts, and we are working with the contractor to correct deficiencies,” Kennedy said in a telephone interview.

The Gabon embassy and another project, a new U.S. consulate in Surabaya, Indonesia, have been “plagued with problems” that the State Department is working to remedy, said Joe Toussaint, a senior official in the department’s bureau of Overseas Building Operations.

While it is neither so large nor strategic as the Baghdad embassy, the post in Gabon is high on the State Department’s list for replacement under a seven-year-old program to move U.S. diplomats to secure, modern facilities worldwide.

It also illustrates how problems that emerged during the tenure of former State Department buildings chief retired Army Maj. Gen. Charles Williams, who resigned late last year after a congressional outcry over the Baghdad embassy, are still being wrestled with. …

The embassy in Gabon is being built under a State Department contract with Aurora LLC, based in Rockville, Md.

According to officials and documents, however, the majority of the construction — almost everything but the embassy’s classified spaces — is being handled by Kuwait-based First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co.

First Kuwaiti built the new Baghdad embassy, the largest U.S. diplomatic post in the world. The project was plagued by delays, allegations of procurement irregularities and a fire safety system that was certified as operational even though it didn’t work properly. Two State Department audits of that project are under way.

In Baghdad, U.S. diplomats have moved into residential areas on the 104-acre embassy complex, and plan to fully transition to the new site by Dec. 31.

State Department officials and others involved in the projects say that the Indonesia consulate is also troubled. It is 35 percent complete and will be at least five months late.

This article does not mention the slave labour scandal of the US Baghdad embassy. Also it does not mention whether there are similar issues in Gabon and Surabaya (maybe to a lesser extent, because in Indonesia and Gabon there is no war which makes very few workers go to Baghdad voluntarily).

From USA Today:

The Pentagon spent about $600 million on more than 1,200 Iraq reconstruction contracts that were eventually canceled, nearly half of them for mismanagement or shoddy construction, government investigators say.

From the BBC:

Iraq war ‘violated rule of law’

Legal advice given to Tony Blair by the attorney general prior to the Iraq war was fundamentally “flawed,” a former law lord has claimed.

Lord Bingham said Lord Goldsmith had given Mr Blair “no hard evidence” that Iraq had defied UN resolutions “in a manner justifying resort to force”.

Therefore, the action by the UK and US was “a serious violation of international law,” Lord Bingham added.

Tens of thousands demonstrate in Baghdad: here.

4 thoughts on “After US Iraq embassy, Gabon embassy scandals

  1. Pingback: Ghanaian riches for oil multinationals, poverty for the people? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Small mammals in Gabon, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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